The data newsletter by @puntofisso.
Hello, regular readers and welcome new ones :) This is Quantum of Sollazzo, the newsletter about all things data. I am Giuseppe Sollazzo, or @puntofisso. I’ve been sending this newsletter since 2012 to be a summary of all the articles with or about data that captured my attention over the previous week. The newsletter is and will always (well, for as long as I can keep going!) be free, but you’re welcome to become a friend via the links below.
Many thanks to the brilliant folks at DataJournalism.com for adding “Quantum of Sollazzo” in their list of 8 must-read newsletters for data journalists, and on the first spot! They describe Quantum of Sollazzo’s 10-year archive as “an incredible repertoire for the data curious”. This was very flattering and a true highlight of the past week.
Speaking of lists of newsletters, I have a favour to ask :) Can you submit this newsletter to the brilliant newsletter aggregator that is The Pudding’s “Winning the Internet”? The form is here and all you have to do is enter “Quantum of Sollazzo” and press submit.
If you read this newsletter you probably know my platform parli-n-grams, a search engine that shows the frequency of words and phrases in debates at the UK Parliament. Well, last week it turned 8 years old. It’s a terrible hack I once put together in a few hours for a hackday in 2014, and it’s kept running and updating for all these years with minimal intervention. Among its moments of glory is the image below, a snapshot of when Allegra Stratton used it on ITV’s Peston on Sunday and yours truly got their “Geek of the week” accolade :-)
I was interviewed by one of my favourite Italian journalists, Isaia Invernizzi, for an article he wrote about AI in healthcare. You can read the original Italian here and the automatic translation into English here.
My friends at the You Got This! conference are running another event in January, which I strongly recommend. “You Got This is a community event series focused on discussing core skills needed for a happy, healthy work life.
We talk about the skills you don’t get taught and just have to work out - it shouldn’t have to be this way. Discover talks, workshops, and social events around our core community themes.“
The Friday workshop is very affordable (and there’s a bursary if you can’t afford it), while the Saturday conference is free.
Every week I include a six-question interview with an inspiring data person. This week, I speak with Edafe Onerhime, Data Architecture Governance Lead & Executive Director at JP Morgan Chase, an outstanding open data heroine and, personally, a true inspiration in the data world.
‘till next week,
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On the run up to Remembrance Day, Lesley-Ann Kelly and colleagues at The Courier have published this poignant analysis of the 11,000 WW1 roll of honour records from Aberdeen and Dundee, using poppies as the basis on which to build an interactive representation of the deaths data.
“People in dire financial straits are losing their homes in a matter of minutes because of a legal system that has failed to account for the catastrophic impact of the pandemic, with judges powerless to prevent evictions being ordered.“
Interesting (investigation](https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2021-09-23/evicted-in-less-than-10-minutes-courts-fail-tenants-broken-by-pandemic) by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
“Why One of the Internet’s Oldest Images Lives On Without Its Subject’s Consent”. This is a pretty good scrollytelling article by The Pudding.
“How much have the congressional districts been redrawn?”, asks this Observable notebook, ready to be replicated.
“Seventeen climate summits ago, one of the world’s first sustainability efforts in global food production was set up to stop palm oil plantations from destroying the rainforest. Yet more than 80% of the market remains untouched by the effort because no one wants to pay for it.“
Seventeen summits ago? We’re doomed, aren’t we.
“For a ProPublica reporter who did Ph.D. work in bioinformatics, data on bacterial DNA helped reveal how a once-rare salmonella strain spread through the chicken industry. Salmonella infantis is multidrug-resistant and is still making people sick.“
Hard science, data, journalism, social activism – all in one article by ProPublica. Extraordinary.
A great little piece in The Economist’s data team newsletter explains how they built the “Uluru Index”, which measures the concept of concentration of inflation.
Population Builder is a web app developed by Oli Hawkins that “lets you build a population estimate for a set of small areas in Great Britain”. The most recent update covers estimates as of mid-2020. It’s pretty easy to use: point and click the delimited boundaries (census output areas) and the corresponding area estimate is added to the total.
“I made a web tool that lets you spy your hidden literary style” – which follows on from the punctuation analysis in literature that we saw in issue 442. The actual web tool is at Just The Punctuation.
(via Lorenza Toffolon)
“This tutorial is an introduction to survival analysis using computation rather than math.“
It’s a work-in-progress collection of notebooks.
A web tool that does a kind of Travelling Salesman to visit housebound patient and administer vaccines. “So far, 32,228 routes have been built for 342,302 patients.” (via Massimo Conte)
“Insights from our passionate community of data collaborators“
“We studied 10,000 websites and found that their design has become more uniform over time. What does this mean for the future of creative expression on the internet?“
A short essay by NYU Professor Enrico Bertini with some handy tips on better charts.
Another of this newsletter’s favourite academics, UCL Geography’s James Cheshire, has written this short piece about the difficulties he himself faced when producing maps for his recent book “Atlas of the Invisible”.
This is, I think, the first time on record that I share a TikTok video as a data visualization.
(via Julia Higginbottom)
This article by Lorenzo Ferrari and Gianluca De Feo at OBC Transeuropa look at European train routes that are carbon savers in comparison with flights.
“The two pianists developed a musical language that set them apart from other contemporary composers.“
Data journalist Francesco Piccinelli uses Spotify data to analyse the music production of a bunch of popular composers. Francesco’s “DaNumbers” newsletter is a must-read if you like this kind of thing.
“Land’s End to John o’ Groats edition“
A brilliant game to play with population data, by “Six Questions” graduate Ahmad Barclay.
A simple chart, with script and data available.
I’ve got to admit that I’m totally in two minds about this. Remote work is good, bad, and both. It all depends on context.
“I started wondering: how long can I reasonably expect these temperatures to last? How late into the year will we be getting these heat waves? And how early will they start?“
Erin Davies makes one of her amazing thematic dataviz collections, with a total of over 40 maps and line charts.
“Network of publicly visible retweet interactions related to COP26. Zoom out to see full structure and look out for fringe communities.“
(via Massimo Conte)
“This week’s chart has two kinds of symmetry. If you stay put throughout the year, you’ll be traveling along a single colored line, corresponding to your town’s latitude.“
By Datawrapper’s blogger Rose Mintzer-Sweeney.
A big svg image containing a classification of cognitive biases and links to their Wikipedia page.
A Twitter thread by Prof Mirco Musolesi, with some good pointers.
This will be a controversial article, and it’s already being shared on social media to that effect. It raises an interesting point: AI-driven facial recognition tool use by the police gets a lot of (often justified) criticism; but what are we comparing it against?
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